Fight the Treatment Industrial Complex

Fight the Treatment Industrial Complex by supporting the AFSC- Arizona campaign

Fight the Treatment Industrial Complex by supporting the AFSC- Arizona campaign
AFSC-Arizona staff are amazing advocates for prisoners - and as such, are true blessings to our communities. Spend time on their site - lots of resources.

Retiring Arizona Prison Watch...


This site was originally started in July 2009 as an independent endeavor to monitor conditions in Arizona's criminal justice system, as well as offer some critical analysis of the prison industrial complex from a prison abolitionist/anarchist's perspective. It was begun in the aftermath of the death of Marcia Powell, a 48 year old AZ state prisoner who was left in an outdoor cage in the desert sun for over four hours while on a 10-minute suicide watch. That was at ASPC-Perryville, in Goodyear, AZ, in May 2009.

Marcia, a seriously mentally ill woman with a meth habit sentenced to the minimum mandatory 27 months in prison for prostitution was already deemed by society as disposable. She was therefore easily ignored by numerous prison officers as she pleaded for water and relief from the sun for four hours. She was ultimately found collapsed in her own feces, with second degree burns on her body, her organs failing, and her body exceeding the 108 degrees the thermometer would record. 16 officers and staff were disciplined for her death, but no one was ever prosecuted for her homicide. Her story is here.

Marcia's death and this blog compelled me to work for the next 5 1/2 years to document and challenge the prison industrial complex in AZ, most specifically as manifested in the Arizona Department of Corrections. I corresponded with over 1,000 prisoners in that time, as well as many of their loved ones, offering all what resources I could find for fighting the AZ DOC themselves - most regarding their health or matters of personal safety.

I also began to work with the survivors of prison violence, as I often heard from the loved ones of the dead, and learned their stories. During that time I memorialized the Ghosts of Jan Brewer - state prisoners under her regime who were lost to neglect, suicide or violence - across the city's sidewalks in large chalk murals. Some of that art is here.

In November 2014 I left Phoenix abruptly to care for my family. By early 2015 I was no longer keeping up this blog site, save occasional posts about a young prisoner in solitary confinement in Arpaio's jail, Jessie B.

I'm deeply grateful to the prisoners who educated, confided in, and encouraged me throughout the years I did this work. My life has been made all the more rich and meaningful by their engagement.

I've linked to some posts about advocating for state prisoner health and safety to the right, as well as other resources for families and friends. If you are in need of additional assistance fighting the prison industrial complex in Arizona - or if you care to offer some aid to the cause - please contact the Phoenix Anarchist Black Cross at PO Box 7241 / Tempe, AZ 85281. collective@phoenixabc.org

until all are free -

MARGARET J PLEWS (June 1, 2015)
arizonaprisonwatch@gmail.com



AZ Prison Watch BLOG POSTS:


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

MCSO Brutality update: Kevin Gerster and William Hughes


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NEXT HEARING:

Comprehensive Trial Management Conference
June 9, 2011 - 8:45am
Maricopa County Central Court Building
(W. Jefferson St.)
Judge Verdin.



Maricopa County Courthouse
May 18, 2011


The Comprehensive Trial Management Conference was to be held today (May 18, 2011), but it was pushed back and everything that occurred was done up at the bench, where the public couldn't witness it or determine what was said in the transcripts.
..I suspect because I had been protesting loudly outside before the hearing, confronting Gerster when he arrived (my taxes paid his salary, after all - and he hurt people in violation of my trust). All I was able to catch Judge Verdin saying to his attorney, who requested that they approach to discuss the case, was that "this is a delicate situation."

Damn straight it is. There are a lot of us mad as hell about what Gerster and fellow officer Alan Keesee did. Gerster and Keesee have more rights as perpetrators of assault than William Hughes has as their victims do now. As some of you may recall, if we, as citizens, are victimized while in custody, we're excluded from the constitutional protections and rights we have when crimes are perpetrated against us in the community, effectively silencing our voice in court proceedings, rights to restitution, etc. if a cop is the perpetrator.

I believe they are buying time for people to forget what Gerster did to us, the rest of his "victims"; chances seem very good that the Maricopa County Attorney is about to offer him a deal. The upcoming trial was cancelled in anticipation of a deal being reached beforehand.

Please contact Bill Montgomery's office and urge that this officer's entire prosecution be made visible and transparent to the public, as he violated us all with the abuse of his office and the assaults on his prisoners.

Remind him that Gerster assaulted at least two "VULNERABLE adults" in custody (making him a repeat, violent offender), and could have been charged with class 2 (not the lower class 6) felonies for that, and must not be allowed to walk with anything less than felony charges and prison time if they give him a deal.

Put your concerns in writing ASAP to:

Mr. Bill Montgomery
Maricopa County Attorney
301 W. Jefferson St. PHX 85003

I'd appreciate copies of your letters to post publicly. Send them to:

Peggy Plews / PO Box 20494 /PHX, AZ 85036

Please also express your continued outrage over the conduct of MCSO officers, and your desire to see justice served, to:

Editor, Arizona Republic / P.O. Box 1950 /Phoenix, AZ 85001


Finally, I looked up the status of William Franklin Hughes III's case. The MCAO still appears to be prosecuting him for the petty offenses (like criminal damage and indecent exposure - most likely secondary to the symptoms of his mental illness) that landed him in Gerster's and Keesee's pre-trial "care" in the psychiatric wing of the county jail in the first place...he was even ordered to undergo competency exams by the judge before they would proceed any further. I don't understand why he's going on trial, given what Montgomery had to say recently about the need to divert these folks from prosecution in the first place. I just discovered that his trial was supposed to begin this am, which I missed.

You would think the MCAO would recognize the beatings he received in jail as punishment enough - and poor William was out of his mind when he got pounded on by those guys. So, folks, please also ask Mr. Montgomery what the deal is with William's prosecution. Those are our tax dollars he's eating up in this unnecessary and cruel endeavor to punish a young man who was already terribly traumatized in custody over "crimes" that really hurt no one else...




Maricopa County Courthouse
(3rd St/W. Jefferson, PHX)
March 11, 2011

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